It wasn’t immediately clear where the boats were headed, but Morocco increasingly has become a departure point for Europe-bound migrants. The North African kingdom has adopted new tactics to reduce the surge and reports stopping tens of thousands of attempted sea crossings to Spain so far this year.
An Italian migrant and refugee program says 48 migrants who reached Lampedusa Island in a fishing boat told authorities that some fellow passengers died at sea.
Protestant church program Mediterranean Hope said migrants who disembarked on the island Monday reported starting their voyage in Libya more than two days earlier.
Mediterranean Hope says they didn’t specify how many people perished on the way but reported the dead included a 5-month-old baby and a man about the age of 30.
The program says the migrants are from Ivory Coast, Mali and Tunisia and include three pregnant women and six children. It says Many were severely dehydrated.
Italy’s right-wing interior minister has refused to allow nonprofit groups’ rescue ships into the country’s ports but smugglers’ boats carrying migrants continue arriving at Italy’s southernmost island on their own.